Once facing the death penalty, Dothan man receives 20 years in fatal shooting

Joshua Nance is led to courtroom for his murder trial on February 4, 2019.
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- A man who once faced the death penalty will serve 20 years, for the shooting of a man, while attempting to collect a drug debt.

A jury convicted Joshua Nance of Dothan, last month, of manslaughter in the death of Paxton Kennedy in 2016. He had faced capital murder charges.

Nance's girlfriend, Dama Clark, reportedly arranged the rendezvous with Kennedy, her former lover, who anticipated having sex with Clark to provide her with methamphetamine, testimony revealed.

Unknown to Kennedy, she brought Nance along to intimidate him in an effort to collect a drug debt owed to Clark's friend, Pamela Whitaker.

Nance borrowed a pistol and, when he approached Kennedy who was also armed, pulled the gun. However, he testified he had no intention of shooting Kennedy but, instead, planned only to “punch him in the nose.”

He claims the pistol fired when Kennedy,seated in his pickup,“popped the (truck's) clutch and it lunged forward. The vehicle brushed Nance's hand, causing the gun to go off.

Nance told jurors he and Clark panicked so they sped away, not realizing Kennedy had been shot until reading news reports the following day.

Clark still faces capital murder charges as do Whitaker and her boyfriend Eric West.

Nance testified West contacted him to confront Kennedy and that Whitaker, West's girlfriend, supplied the drugs Kennedy refused to pay for.

Nance will receive credit for the 38 months he has been jailed since his arrest.